Immunotherapy is revolutionizing the way many cancers, including sarcomas, are treated. While conventional treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are more commonly used to address sarcoma, immunotherapy may be a viable treatment approach for certain patients. Immunotherapy capitalizes on the body’s natural disease-fighting abilities, enhancing the immune system’s ability to attack specific types of cancer cells.
As a high-volume cancer center with Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute, Moffitt Cancer Center is in the unique position to offer the newest approved and experimental therapies to our patients. Our Sarcoma Program has an extensive repertoire of immunotherapy research and clinical efforts. There are currently no FDA-approved immunotherapy treatments for sarcoma; however, we are actively pursuing the use of immunotherapy approaches that have been successful in other cancer types.
Working together, our physician scientists and clinicians continue to explore the capabilities of immunotherapy for patients with sarcoma and various others cancers. Additionally, patients in our Sarcoma Program benefit from the expertise of physicians who focus exclusively on bone and connective tissue cancers, and who collaborate to develop tailored treatment plans for each individual patient. Thanks in part to the unparalleled experience of our physicians, Moffitt is able to achieve more positive outcomes and an improved quality of life for sarcoma patients.
Sarcoma immunotherapy clinical trials
Our sarcoma clinical trials program emphasizes the exploration of novel immunotherapy approaches, such as the infusion of genetically modified immune cells (T cells) that target a molecule specific to sarcoma cancer cells, the use of a vaccine-like approach to stimulate the immune system against sarcoma antigens, and checkpoint inhibitor treatments, similar to those that have been highly successful in other cancer types. As clinical trials are frequently changing in their availability, you can click here to see current status.
Moffitt is a leader in the development of new therapies that involve injecting the tumor itself. For sarcoma, we are developing protocols with both FDA-approved medications and preclinical compounds that can be injected directly into the tumor to promote a cancer-fighting immune response.
Cell-based therapy and the ICE-T service
Moffitt is uniquely positioned to develop cellular-based therapy for sarcoma patients. In fact, we are among a select few cancer centers that can offer the full spectrum of immunotherapy treatments, from novel agents to cell-based therapy. We also have a dedicated, multispecialty team of researchers that works with our primary sarcoma team to care for patients receiving inpatient immunotherapy. As detailed below, our laboratory efforts in sarcoma therapy have led to promising preclinical results that we hope to translate into active treatments for sarcoma patients.
Current Laboratory Research Efforts
Patients receiving sarcoma treatment have the opportunity to participate in laboratory research protocols which seek to identify breakthroughs in sarcoma immunotherapy. Our primary research focus is centered on tumor infiltration lymphocytes (TIL). We know from melanoma patients that these specialized white blood cells within the tumor have the potential to attack the tumor and cause tumor regression in patients with metastatic (widespread) disease. Moffitt is one of a few centers with experience and active clinical trials using TIL for patients with advanced-stage cancers. Our studies have shown that TILs are present in sarcoma tumors and are capable of destroying primary tumor cells. These promising results have led to clinical trials for advanced sarcoma patients that involve a strategy called adoptive cell therapy.
It has been suggested that the immune system’s ability to recognize and fight cancer hinges upon genetic changes that occur in the tumor. As part of our research to better understand the genetic basis of sarcomas, we are actively investigating genetic changes that might better predict which sarcomas would be more likely to respond positively to immunotherapy treatment.
Speak with a Moffitt physician
Take the first step toward visiting Moffitt by calling 1-888-663-3488 or submitting a new patient registration form online. An oncologist on our team can provide you with more information about sarcoma immunotherapy and what treatment options may be best for you. Moffitt welcomes patients with or without referrals.